This Week's Gospel Sermons
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March 28, 2010
“For a child will be
born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). This passage is
a prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ; the descriptive
terms of the passage refer to Christ, the anointed. Notice the
first one of these intense descriptions: “Wonderful.”
This Hebrew word, alp, has much the same as the meaning we give it in English — a wonder. In other places in Scripture where the word is used, we find some translations using the word, “astonishing” or “an astonishment.” In regard to the Christ, how appropriate are the first few entries in the American Heritage Thesaurus: “marvelous, magnificent, superb, glorious, sublime.” Christ is simply astounding. Have we thought about some of the reasons why?
Christ is wonderful because of His eternal nature.
Our text not only describes Him as
“Wonderful” but also as “Everlasting.” He spoke in
reference to his eternal nature when spoke to the Jews
as recorded in John 8:56–59; “Truly, truly, I say
to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” His eternal nature
is in clear reference by the apostle John. “In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God.” (John 1:1). “And the Word became
flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the
only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John
1:14). This shows that Christ is “from everlasting to
everlasting” as spoken by Moses (Psalm 90:2). Paul
reminds us that this eternal nature gives Him a unique place, “He
is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”
(Colossians 1:17). When some claim, as do the
Jehovah’s Witnesses, that Christ is a created being, they
violate the scriptures, and rob him of the glory, the
magnificence, the wonder of his eternal nature.
Christ is wonderful because of His part in the creation.
Closely related to His eternal nature
is His role as creator. Notice what Paul tells us in speaking of
this nature, and His work in creation: “For by Him all
things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible
and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or
authorities — all things have been created through Him
and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). The first chapter
of Genesis shows clearly that God was not alone in the creation,
for, in the twenty-sixth verse, God said, “Let Us make man
in Our image, according to Our likeness.” Concerning
Christ as the Word, John says, “All things came into being
through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has
come into being” (John 1:3).
Creation is astounding! Simply
because God spoke there came into existence out of nothing this
great physical universe. The theory of evolution offers no real
explanation of the origin of matter and of life. It robs God and
Christ of the wonder of creation.
Christ is wonderful in the nature of His birth.
When the angel told Mary that she was
to be the mother of Jesus, she found it incredible: “Mary
said to the angel, “‘How can this be, since I am a
virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy
Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will
overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be
called the Son of God’” (Luke 1:34,35). Christ
was brought forth into the world through the virgin birth, the
Son of God and the Son of man, qualified to be our intercessor
as one who knows both the human and divine sides.
Christ is wonderful in the fulfillment of prophecy.
Christ, from His birth, to His death, and beyond fulfilled prophecy. “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Concerning the birth of Christ hundreds of years later it is said, “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US” (Matthew 1:22,23). It was prophesied that he would be the seed of woman, the seed of Abraham, the seed of Isaac, the seed of Jacob, would come from the tribe of Judah, would be heir to the throne of David, would be born in Bethlehem, would make the flight into Egypt, and the innocents would be slaughtered, would be preceded by a forerunner, would heal the brokenhearted, would be rejected by his own people, would be betrayed by a friend, would be sold for thirty pieces of silver, his side would be pierced but no bones broken, would be with the wicked and rich in his death, would be resurrected and would ascend to be at the right hand of God. In the exact, detailed fulfillment of each prophecy we see the wonderful Christ.
Christ is wonderful because of His character.
The fact that Christ came to be among
us and that this was prophesied is not the end of the wonder of
Christ. Not only was He here, but He was tempted in all points
as we are and was yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15).
He “committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his
mouth.” (1 Peter 2:22). He was wonderful in
obeying every law under which he lived, in overcoming every
temptation of Satan, in doing the will of God completely.
Christ is wonderful in the service He rendered to
In our time people in the name of
some cause go about rioting, bombing, killing, destroying. Jesus
“went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38). Doing God’s
will is so much more than just refraining from evil. He rendered
the kind of service to humanity that lifted up the palsied knee,
that healed the broken heart, that fed the hungry mouth, that
gave hope to the oppressed. Indeed he was wonderful in the
service which he rendered and in the good that he did among men.
Christ was wonderful in the death that He died.
Far beyond the healing that Christ
did for man physically, the healing He did in His suffering is
almost incomprehensible to our small, human mind; “But He
was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for
our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
He came to be “… the Lamb of God who takes away the
sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Concerning His life
He said, “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it
down on My own initiative” (John 10:18). He who
knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we might become the
righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Little wonder then when Christ died so nobly the shameful,
horrible death of the cross that the Roman centurion should cry
out, “Truly this was the Son of God.” (Matthew 27:54).
Christ was wonderful in his resurrection and ascension.
The horrible yet glorious death of
Christ would have little to no meaning without His resurrection
and ascension. Christ has made a great claim: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live
even if he dies” (John 11:25). When on the third morning after his crucifixion the
women came to the tomb to anoint his body, he proved this
colossal claim to be true. Instead of finding the body lying
still in death, they found the tomb empty, and heard the angels
say, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is
not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while
He was still in Galilee …” (Luke 24:5,6). After
forty days with his disciples, while blessing them as they stood
on the mount of Olives, he was parted from them and carried into
heaven on a cloud that received him out of their sight. (Luke
24:51; Acts 1:9). That empty tomb, that cloud offer to
mankind the hope of the wonderful Christ.
Christ is wonderful in His work of redemption.
Redemption: the action of regaining
or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or
clearing a debt. In his coming from heaven, in his great
sacrifice, in his victory over Satan and over death, he has
executed God’s great plan of salvation for man. Now through
his precious blood which flowed on Calvary we can be cleansed
from every sin. (1 John 1:7; Ephesians 1:7).
Redeemed! How I love to proclaim it!
It is for us to show our appreciation
for this wonderful Christ by obeying the gospel which he
proclaimed, and which is the power of God unto salvation. (Romans
1:16). We reach out to that precious, atoning blood by being
baptized into his death — not as those who repudiate baptism,
and thus deny the word of God, but as humble, penitent
believers. (Romans 6:3,4). The wonderful Christ is He who
“… became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal
salvation” (Hebrews 5:9).
— S. Scott Richardson